What activities & ideas interest a toddler 18 months +? Parents can make learning fun!

“No” is a word your child can communicate by 18 months… and that usually includes him shaking his head! He can point to show something that he wants and likely says several words. Communications skills are becoming obvious.  

Problem solving skills, learning and thinking are becoming apparent:

  • He will point to get your attention to focus on something he wants.
  • He is developing an understanding of his world. Because he has made observations in his environments, he knows that ordinary objects are used for specific purposes (e.g. a brush or spoon).phone-18-mon
  • Cause and effect is part of his world. Just like anticipating the jack-in-the-box popping up, or the tower of blocks tumbling down when he hits it …. he understands the effect of the doorbell or phone ringing.
  • Explore and talk about what happens when experimenting with funnels, sand and water!



To make an easy  tornado funnel… just tape two water bottles together…for this young age, cut the bottom off of one bottle so that water can be added.  Watch how the water funnels through the small opening … or just play!




Language, Listening and Visual Development

  • Your child’s vocabulary is growing. When you play a game to identify and name body parts, he’s likely able to point to the body part. Remember that when you ask a question like, “Where’s your nose?” he may still need the visual reassurance as he imitates your response. He will definitely enjoy the praise for a job well done. “That’s right… you found your nose!”
  • Talk with your child! As you do things around the house say, “Mommy is getting the dinner ready.” or “I need to fold the laundry.” Your words, along with stories, will increase your child’s vocabulary. He will likely use 6-40 recognizable words and understand many more.
  • Having heard his name spoken quite frequently your child will likely refer to himself by name.
  • Watch your child’s body language. Notice how he indicates, with signs and gestures, things like, “I want more!” or   “I like it.”
  • As his listening skills develop, he can follow simple one step directions like,  “Sit down.”19-mos-053
  • He can obey simple one-step instructions like, “Please water the plants.”
  • He can also answer simple questions like “Where’s the cat?”
  • He enjoys rhymes, riddles and stories!!!
  • Read books and sing songs! Talk about the stories you read. Point to picture of objects. Make animal sounds. You may find that your child has 2 or 3 favorite books that he  wants read and re-read.
  • Visual Discrimination includes identifying objects and animals.  Your child may begin to make connections to some of the symbols and shapes that you reference.

Gross Motor leading to Fine Motor Control

  • He will be working his gross motor skills by pulling toys, walking and running!
  • He may begin to pretend feed some of his stuffed animal friends.
  • He can use a spoon to feed himself and drink from a cup.
  • He can thread large beads onto a string or shoelace.
  • He will enjoy building a tower of three or more blocks.dsc_0237
  • He will have control of the pincer grip used to pick up small objects like Cheerios or that piece of lint off the floor.
  • He can use a pencil in his whole hand or between thumb and first two fingers in a primitive tripod grasp to scribble on his own. It’s great to see those crayon marks go on paper!
  • Remember to support, encourage and model your child’s learning. Do not try to force him to do things he is not developmentally ready for. Each child is different and simply requires your love and support.

At 18 months you may also notice that your child:

  • Has a fear of strangers
  • Become frustrated and shows temper tantrums
  • Demonstrate affection to familiar people
  • Begins to expand the area the he explores… you’ve probably noticed that he can be beside you one minute and gone the next!

Enjoy the giggles as he delights in his own achievements and still enjoys the wonder of simple games like “peek-boo”.  “Where did you go?”

But most of all … have fun!

Live, love, laugh!

Check out these Board Books:

  • Busy Little Mouse by  Eugenie Fernandes
  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
  • Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr Seuss
  • Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 by Bill  Martin
  • Ten Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox

Grandma Laurie

Interesting video published by TED videos on You-Tube.

Word Acquisition.

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